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Myanmar dam will displace thousands

Up to 10,000 people in the predominantly Christian Kachin State will be displaced and 47 villages will disappear in the creation of the Myitsone dam, said a report on Independent Catholic News.

  • Myanmar
  • July 8, 2011
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Thousands of villagers in the north of Myanmar, including areas where missionary groups minister, are being forcibly moved from their homes to make way for a new hydro-electric dam, said an ACN report in the Independent Catholic News.

Up to 10,000 people in the predominantly Christian Kachin State will be displaced and 47 villages will disappear beneath the waters following construction of the Myitsone dam – which will create a lake some 300 square miles (777 square kilometres).

The construction of a number of new dams in the state is a key factor that sparked fighting between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army in June, following demands for greater independence from the Kachin State.

Aid to the Church in Need, the charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, was told by villagers from Tang Hpre they had been forced out of their village by state authorities.

One catechist from Tang Hpre said: “We cannot leave the land and houses that belonged to our forefathers.” Tang Hpre is where the Columban Missionaries started their work in Burma and the order built a church and schools there after World War II.

Others who will be affected include the Malizup Weavers’ Cooperative, set up by a Catholic religious sister. The group consists mostly elderly woman from the Christian Jinghpaw (or Jingpo) tribal groups.

The construction of the hydro-electric dam is being carried out with the backing of a consortium of Burmese and Chinese companies and is expected to supply up to 6,000 megawatts of power each year, mostly to the Chinese market.

FULL STORY

Burma: villagers forcibly moved to make way for new dam (Independent Catholic News/ACN)
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